I’m about to say something very unpopular. I hate the Victoria Secret Fashion Show.
Now that I’ve got that out of the way, I want to explain why.
Let’s be real. The VS show is the new Miss Universe. But with no question time and less fabric.
The women chosen to be the Victoria Secret “angels” are on the catwalk for one reason and one reason only. They are deemed to be the most beautiful models on the planet. They are valued for nothing more than the way they look. In lingerie.
I don’t want to attack the models because I don’t think that’s helpful. They’re doing their job. It’s their decision. They have their own minds and their own ambition. And I’m sure they have fun. I want to make it clear that I don’t have a problem with the Victoria Secret “angels.” I don’t know them from a bar of soap and I won’t pretend to.
But there are a few things I’m not okay with.
Every year, women across the globe, await the Victoria Secret Fashion Show like it’s Christmas come early. It’s the night the women of the world bond over their collective insecurities. It’s a self-deprication sop fest.
One post on my Facebook news feed read:
“I now hate food”- watching the VS Fashion show.
One tweet I saw read:
“Victoria Secret Fashion Show tonight. Gym memberships through the roof tomorrow.”
I roll my eyes and prepare for the social media onslaught. I bite my tongue and swallow my opinions. Until now when I can unleash my feels. All of my feels.
Problem number one: The VS body is not ideal, it’s fantasy
Women across the globe lay back on their couches and watch the “angels” strut on a catwalk, pouting their lips and swinging their hips. And the only thing that we value about them is their looks. And how they look is not realistic. It’s fantasy.
Problem number two: The health and strength lie
Victoria Secret, and the rest of the world, seem to believe that all of these models are the pillar of health and strength. To all of those who claim that these “angels” are all healthy, I respectfully and whole-heartedly disagree.
The models are subject to staggering and strict exercise regimes. The majority of the VS models exercise at a high intensity every day of the week, sometimes multiple times a day. This type of regime is not sustainable but the models do it to get them “catwalk ready.”
The counter-argument to this is that these women are “athletes”. That they train, as an elite athlete would, to get ready for game day. The main difference I see here is that an athlete trains to be the best at their sport. To achieve their personal best. Not to be a spectacle.
Then there’s the touchy food subject. In the leadup to the show the models and their supervisors profess the “angels” just eat “healthy” and enjoy “naughty foods”. I don’t buy that the “scientifically designed nutrition and exercise plan” they engage in is sustainable long-term. Brazilian model, Adriana Lima, has spoken about how she went on a liquid based diet nine days before walking the cat-walk in 2012. Healthy? I don’t think so.
The ladies are trained to eat for “necessity and purpose” rather than “taste”. Which is an unhealthy requirement in itself.
Problem number three: Where’s the diversity?
The VS show has about as much diversity as an executive meeting at a top tier accounting firm.
The VS models must be above a certain height and of a certain size. They must be over 5 ft 9. The average height of an Australian woman is 5ft 3.
They have to be at or below 18% body fat. The healthy range for a woman is between 21 and 24% body fat.
So do I believe the VS models are healthy in the lead up to the big day? No. But they have the right to do what they like to their body. I will not shame them for that.
Problem number four: who are our real heroes?
I have a problem with young girls growing up aspiring to be like Kendell Genner or Gigi Hadid. Why? Because young girls subliminally receive the message that their most valuable asset is their body.
I am sad that young women across the globe are watching the show with stars in their eyes, hoping that one day they will be the next Candice or Kendell. Not the next Hillary Clinton or Malala. They aspire to have a million dollar studded diamond g-string up their bum rather than running a company or becoming the next Prime Minister.
The Victoria Secret Fashion Show gives me so many feels
I am angry that the catwalk lacks height and weight diversity.
I am frustrated that, as a society, we gawk at these women like show ponies.
I am self-conscious, because I can not help but compare myself them.
I am furious that I get sucked into the self-loathing too.
And I hope that one day our society will stop giving a shit.